Resurfaced fan art by John Keaveney depicts Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl in a series of the hero’s most iconic costumes, setting Twitter ablaze.
Since her first appearance in 1961, Batgirl has worn many iconic costumes, as illustrated in a spectacular new set of fan art. From Betty Kane to Barbara Gordon, the Batgirl mantle has been held by multiple women, all bringing a distinct flair to their costumes. After over 60 years of Batgirl stories, certain costumes have stuck with fans, gaining the status of classics.
First introduced as Batwoman’s Robin, the original Batgirl Bette Kane was eventually shelved by DC’s editorial to reconnect Batman with his darker roots. Bette was later replaced by Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, Barbara Gordon, who became the most famous iteration of the hero. Barbara went on to become Oracle after controversially being shot and tortured by the Joker in Batman: The Killing Joke. As Batgirl is a vital member of the Bat-Family, the identity was later taken on by characters such as Helena Bertinelli, Cassandra Cain, and Stephanie Brown. During the New 52, Barbara reprised her role as Batgirl in wildly popular storylines, including Batgirl of Burnside. More recent stories have Barbara mainly operating as Oracle but still suiting up as Batgirl when necessary.
Artist John Keaveney’s art depicting Barbara in various iconic costumes recently resurfaced, appearing all over social media as fans rediscover the stunning art originally sold by and shared to Twitter by Bottleneck Gallery in 2019. These costumes include Bette Kane’s original red and green Batgirl suit and Barbara Gordon’s Bronze Age, classic black and gold, and Burnside costumes. The fan art is done in a pin-up style, with Bette and Barbara posing similarly to show the seamless progression of their famous Batgirl costumes. Differences in their poses subtly communicate the different attitudes of the women in each costume.
For instance, Bette Kane’s Batgirl has one hand on her hip and the other against her chest as if pointing at herself. She looks confident and happy in her colorful suit, making her a perfect counterpart for Robin. Next are Barbara’s Bronze age and classic black and gold suits. In these drawings, Barbara appears to be in the middle of swinging across rooftops, honoring her skills as a crime fighter. Additionally, these versions of Batgirl’s costumes draw from Batman’s suit but remain unique, implying Barbara is a more independent hero than Bette’s Batgirl. Finally, the fan art of Batgirl’s Burnside costume depicts her jumping into action while holding up a peace sign. The pose, along with the more modern suit, highlights the reinvention of Barbara’s character to align with the trendy Batgirl of Burnside run.
As an impactful character with a rich history, it is fantastic to see such a talented artist highlight some of Batgirl’s most iconic looks. With so many other Batgirls, each with their own classic costumes, it would be incredible to see how they translate over in Keaveney’s style. For now, fans can appreciate the changes in Bette Kane and Barbara Gordon’s famous Batgirl suits that Keaveney’s art illustrates.
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Source: Bottleneck Gallery
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